Cutting edge design down by the riverside for €1.2m
Circular rooms and sharp roofs abound in Bridgehill
Experts recommend that anyone getting embroiled in a self-build project should keep aside a contingency fund of at least 10% of the overall budget, just in case.
However, if what you're planning is a glamorous, architect-designed, 3,000 sq ft house on a sloping site rising steeply over a river, a mere 10% is probably not going to cover it.
'Bridgehill', at Kilnacloona near Barrell's Cross in Kinsale, Co Cork, is just such a house. According to the Ordnance Survey Map, it was previously known as 'Sans Souci', which means 'carefree'. And while today it does look like the sort of place that would ease away a person's worries, it must have been a fiendishly difficult and expensive build.
The area has form for that sort of thing. A few hundred metres' walk down the road from Bridgehill you can see the remains of the Kinsale Western Bridge over the River Bandon, which gave its builders quite a bit of bother and expense.
John and Charles Brettell were awarded the £17,230 contract to build the quarter-mile bridge, but by the time it was finished in 1883 they found themselves sorely out of pocket. The matter ended in a Grand Jury hearing, with the Brettells applying for an extra £2,658 1s 6d to compensate them for the extra work - a cost overrun of some 12%.
The county surveyor of the day refused to budge on the money question, although he agreed it was "an excellent bridge" for which the contractors deserved every credit. And while the Brettells insisted they would "like something better than mere credit", the case was thrown out.
The Western Bridge is now long gone, having been demolished and replaced in the 1970s by the Archdeacon Duggan bridge a few kilometres downriver. This is all to the good for Bridgehill and its scattering of neighbours, as they now share the seclusion of a cul de sac.
Bridgehill faces west and north-west, overseeing the Bandon as it makes its way slowly eastward towards Kinsale and the sea. It's a complicated house, with three floors, circular rooms, and an abundance of sharp roofs pointing in different directions, with glazing here to let daylight into the high-ceilinged rooms within.
The main entrance is on the first floor, opening into a round reception hall, 15 ft in diameter, with a glazed roof overhead and a Jura limestone floor.
This level is all given over to bedrooms - three of them, all en-suite. The dual-aspect master bedroom is finished with a walnut floor and built-in wardrobes, and has a reading nook in one corner surrounded by windows. It has a dressing room and an en-suite with twin sinks and a double shower. Outside the master bedroom is a private patio facing towards the river, and there's a hot tub there, the idea being you can sit in the warm water while gazing out at the cold winter landscape.
Downstairs on the ground floor is a circular living room corresponding to the entrance hall above it, but bigger, with a diameter of over 22ft. The room has a vaulted ceiling with glazing, and there are picture windows overlooking the river. There's a walnut floor here too, and a marble fireplace with a solid-fuel stove in it.
Off the living room is the kitchen and dining room, again with a walnut floor, which measures over 23ft by 16ft and has another marble fireplace. The kitchen is fitted with solid wood cabinets and integrated ovens, as well as other appliances including a wine fridge, a steam oven and a warming drawer. The space appointed for the dining table is against a corner wall of windows and gives onto another patio outside (below the private one off the master bedroom), which has a glass balustrade so you can still see the river when you're sitting down.
On the lower ground floor there's a den and various service rooms including a plant room, which has the heating system controls and a water softener, a storeroom, and a utility room which you reach from stairs in the kitchen. All these rooms have doors to the outside.
Bridgehill is on 0.8 acres of grounds, with a driveway circling round from the front door to the lower ground floor level below. The garden includes a rose bed, vegetable garden, and a lawn and potting shed, and there's a 'David Austin' rose bed honouring the English breeder who favours old fragrant garden roses.
The upper patio off the master bedroom has stepping stones and flower beds, and in a tiny enclosed courtyard in the centre of the house there's a Zen garden.
Bridgehill is about six kilometres from Kinsale by means of the 'new' bridge over the River Bandon, and it's approximately 45 minutes' drive from Cork city.
It's on the market with agents Sherry FitzGerald in Cork (021) 427 3041, and it has an asking price of €1.2m.
Kilnacloona, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Asking price: €1.2m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (021) 427 3041